01 May 2012

May Day

The first of May is a holiday in Germany, both because it is Labor Day (that is, the day of the Workers, or International Worker's Day) and because the Walpurgis Nacht is from April 30th through May 1st, and the witches congregate not far from here, in the Harz Mountains.

Berlin, a former member of the Communist Eastern Bloc, celebrates it a bit more strongly than other areas, with a local tradition of riots. Recently, the riots have attracted folks from all over Germany and the rioters have been found to be such people as doctors and middle managers, looking for the chance to put on a mask and destroy property. The Berlin Police have strengthened their defense and the areas in question are not local to me, so, on this absolutely gorgeous day, we packed up the kids and went to Britzer Garten, smack in the middle of its Tulip Festival.

I had been unhappy to miss our annual visit to the Keukenhof (when we headed that way in early April, the weather was so bad- it rained every day. all day) that we cancelled continuing further in the Netherlands and grabbed the moments of sunshine to take short walks and visit relatives. So it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to walk through a large garden on a beautiful day. Although, what a difference! The Britzer Garten is really just another green space in Berlin (although with a very small entrance fee) and, rather than a manicured and pristine spot, it is a huge, well-used, well-loved and public friendly green space. With food kiosks (all with reasonable prices for both food and - it's Germany- alcohol).

We wandered about, we climbed the viewing stations (like lifeguard lookouts) and gazed over the expanses, we swam in the sea of flowers (as allowed, through paths and walkable lawns), we sat by the side of a lake and a river, rolled down a huge hill, used several different playgrounds, looked at the water and sand play area (but did not use it- when the Germans let their small children play naked in water, I won't let mine: I see them using it as an open toilet and that is just not defensible).
It was a gorgeous day, (even losing a stuffed Armiser (ant) along the way).

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